It was both challenging and thrilling. I always do the pre-flight checks, Run-up etc… Then my instructor has me taxi to the north end of the runway and takes over and takes off – not today. I got to the end, turned around and he just said “let’s go, full power…” Oh crap…
Before I started learning to fly, I had made the assumption that taking off would be one of the easier things to do – basically a form of: “I’m giving her all she’s got Capt’n”…. and up you go, right?
First – while on the ground you steer the plane with your feet. That’s odd enough but to take off, you need to be going.., heck I don’t know how fast – I’ve never had the courage to look at the instrument panel while trying to keep the plane from pulling a Steve Austin (you guys from the 80’s will know what I mean). Steering with your feet is no bueno… I’ve posted a pick in this post of a Cherokee instrument panel – you try to figure out where the heck to look while trying not to kill yourself.
Second – the big reveal (hey Chip and Joanna…) was what happens when you lift off. The thing I think my instructor wanted me to experience was the torque of that engine – I guess…, maybe he needed some cheap entertainment at my expense. When on the ground, the engine is basically ‘turning’ against the ground (the weight of the plane holds everything in place), but once in the air, there is nothing but the wings to ‘hold’ the plane from spinning along with the engine – you get my drift? When we broke free of the ground, boom the plane twisted left wing down.. all the while my instructor is saying… actually I have no idea what he was saying. All I could do was think, “we are going downnnnnn” – that’s not exactly right, but I did think ‘oh crap’. Of course in reality the physics of the wind rushing over the wings help stabilize the plane and had there been any real danger my instructor would have taken control, still it was not at all what I expected.
We did a bunch of flying and he also had me bring the plane down to about 200′ of the runway when landing – all in all a great great day of flying.